Design for light

Posted by jamie — 11 September 2007 at 12:30pm - Comments

The design for Jason Bruges's installation using energy efficient light bulbs

So far in our light bulb campaign, we've bashed companies like Woolworths for not being proactive enough in sweeping inefficient incandescent bulbs from their shelves, but we're also working on more positive angles to demonstrate the plus-points of energy saving light bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). One of the frequent excuses used for not switching to CFLs is that they're unattractive/ungainly/ugly/inconvenient (delete as applicable), but that's not so. They now come in an exhaustive variety of shapes, sizes and colours and can be just as aesthetically pleasing as old-fashioned bulbs.

Jason Bruges certainly thinks so. One of the UK's top interactive installation designers, he’s currently working with us on a new work to demonstrate the versatility of CFLs. He's no stranger to low-carbon design projects - his recent installation at the South Bank in London, Wind to Light, featured mini-wind turbines powering hundreds of LEDs, and his studio's latest work will be the front of house feature at this year's 100% Design at Earls Court Exhibition Centre later this month.

The top-line description of our installation is "an electronic, animated and interactive garden of raised flowerbeds made up of hundreds of elevated energy efficient light bulbs" that will "glow with gently undulating light that will ripple across its surface and respond to people as they approach the flowerbed". Very zen, and it also features a new innovation by lighting manufacturer Varilight in energy efficient illumination - CFLs that work in all standard dimmer switches in the same way that outmoded incandescent bulbs do. So that's another excuse for not using energy efficient bulbs completely crushed.

But it's not just a piece of fancy, glittering art. 100% Design will be attended by designers, architects, specifiers and lighting buyers from major retailers - if they can recognise the creative (as well as the environmental) potential of energy efficient lighting, it is far more likely they will be incorporated into new product design.

Ideally, incandescent bulbs will become as terminally unfashionable as multi-coloured knitwear - not that good environmental practice should be dependent on the whims of style writers and fashion editors, although some may argue it already is. Still, maybe I should start the new trend - if your energy efficiency rating isn't A+, I don't want to know.

If you'd like to see the installation in person, 100% Design is at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre from Thursday 20 - Sunday 23 September. Trade and press members can register online, and the event is open to the public on Sunday only.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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